Tamsin Greig (Debbie Aldridge)
Another one opens – Debbie and Elizabeth hugged and made up, both bursting into tears, thus ending nine years of barely speaking to each other because Lizzie was aware of her stepfather Brian's dalliance with Siobhan and said nothing. "This rift between us has gone on far too long" said Debbie, and we wondered if the words "rift" and "brother David" were connecting in Lizzie's mind. I suppose we could forgive her for feeling emotional, as it was the anniversary of Nigel's death.
Having gained a friend, Debbie then alienated brother Adam with her single-mindedness about the mega dairy scheme. The pair aren't talking and avoiding each other, much to Jennifer's distress. In fact, Debbie seems to be getting up a lot of people's noses – having learnt that Ruth and David might contemplate giving up the dairy business she rushes round to Brookfield; not to commiserate but to see if they'd like to reconsider growing feed for the mega dairy herd.
Mind you, Debbie is in a hurry, as she was only in the UK for a few days before going back to run Hungary or whatever it is she does there. And there was still the matter of presenting the dairy plan to the BL board – a hastily cobbled together plan B, with Brian getting three farmers at the last minute to agree to supply fodder. Board member Andrew Eagleton is gunning for Brian, accusing him of mishandling the project, incompetence – you name it. Debbie soon slaps him down and informs the board that she will be running the scheme from Hungary. Just after she's fixed the Eurozone crisis, presumably.
New Year's Day saw the wedding of Nic and Will. Nic looked lovely (like a princess, Mia thinks) and the ceremony went off OK. They didn't broadcast the bit where the registrar asks if there's any reason why the couple shouldn't be married, so we never got to hear the shouts of "because he's a total tosser!" and "you're much too good for him!" The room where the ceremony was held was quickly transformed into the Reception room (they told George that elves had done it) and everyone had a good time.
Well, nearly everyone – the next day, moody cow Emma is dropping Keira off at Clarrie's and she moans that the wedding breakfast was, well, a breakfast and not all that special. Clarrie replied that she had Eggs Benedict and, call me a cynic if you will, but I'd bet a substantial sum that this is not a dish that features often at the breakfast table of Emma and Ed and thus could be described as special. I can't understand a) why Emma was invited in the first place and b) why she accepted. Baby Keira seems to have inherited her mother's bad traits, such as grizzling all the time and always wanting to be the centre of attention.
There was talk of babies elsewhere, as the family gathered for Henry's first birthday. Helen had made and iced a cake (I would have thought that Ian would have knocked one off in his tea break) and there was great delight when Henry took his first steps. Like you, I was amazed that he hadn't been walking for ages. Apparently he hasn't taken his 11 Plus yet either – come on lad, shape up!
Helen remarks how good Tom is with Henry and, in her annoyingly direct way, asks him whether he has thought of having a family. This obviously stirs something in Tom's mind – and other parts, presumably – as he tells Brenda he feels ready to be a Dad. He didn't actually say "so get your kit off and lay down" but there isn't a lot of discussion.
Fortunately, Brenda is distinctly underwhelmed by the prospect (unlike the rest of us, who are, quite frankly terrified and appalled) and is casting around for ways of heading him off. I can recommend nutcrackers or a couple of house bricks. Her chance comes when Tom returns from a meeting with a man from HEFF, fizzing with ideas for supplying pork ready meals. "This could move the Tom Archer brand into the Premiership" he crows and Brenda sees her chance, telling him that it will mean lots of hard work and thus it is probably not the best time to be thinking about starting a family. Well done Brenda! That's the next couple of years sorted, which should give you plenty of time to come up with another excuse.
Over at Brookfield, times are tough. The Environment Agency turned up to inspect the slurry lagoon and it needs to be relined, which will cost £20k. "And we haven't got it" David tells his mother. Sell one of the kids, why don't you? David tells Jill that they might have to give up dairy and what would Phil have thought? Jill takes the pragmatic view that you can't be sentimental and bankrupt the farm just because you like cows.
Finally, we have the 'will-she-won't-she' saga of Tracy and the kids moving into number six. Susan is keen as Tracy can then look after father Bert and idiot brother Gary. Gary – presumably before setting off for his full-time job as Village Idiot - managed to burn some sausages and ruin the frying pan. Susan, who has obviously been reading Machiavelli, persuades Bert to ask Tracy to move in. The week ends with Tracy giving Neil a list of jobs that would need doing but she keeps changing her mind. Just kill her Neil – no jury on earth would convict you.